Severe Weather Emergency Protocol Activated in Southend – HARP

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol Activated in Southend – HARP

HARP, Southend’s leading homeless charity, are working with their partners including Southend-on-Sea City Council to ensure no one has to sleep outside during the current cold snap.

The Met Office have announced freezing temperatures over the next few nights. In response, the severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP), which kicks in whenever there is extreme hot or cold weather, has been activated.

As freezing cold nights are predicted over the coming days, the coordinated response will see people sleeping rough offered emergency housing out of the cold for their own health, wellbeing and protection.

Vanessa Hemmings, CEO of HARP, said: “It goes without saying that no one should have to resort to sleeping on the streets in 2022, and this is especially so during the SWEP, where there is a real danger to life. Thankfully, additional resources have been put in to place to ensure that no one has to.

“Our teams are working hard, alongside our partners, to get everyone in. Members of the public can also do their bit – if you spot someone sleeping rough, raise an alert at – this ensures that the right agencies in your area, including HARP in Southend, are alerted and that our Outreach Team can be despatched. Raising a StreetLink could save a life at this time of year.”

If you are concerned about someone who you have seen sleeping rough, please go to and report it, with as much detail as you can. This will alert the outreach teams across Southend to the person’s whereabouts, and they can check on their welfare and offer emergency accommodation.

Cllr Ian Gilbert, cabinet member for economic recovery, regeneration and housing, said: “There is always a concern for those who sleep rough, but especially so when the weather becomes extreme. Heat and cold each provide their own set of challenges, but the priority is always to get the most vulnerable people in our society into emergency accommodation, where their immediate needs can be assessed.

“We are incredibly fortunate in Southend to have a collaborative approach to such emergencies, working alongside other agencies to provide the quickest and most effective response, with the aim of getting vulnerable rough sleepers off the streets and into the warm.”

HARP is encouraging local people to support their urgent Christmas Appeal at or by texting the word SAFE to 70460 to donate £10, texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message.

Jamie Langstone